Rich Aylward knew he wanted to work in the mental health field since he was in middle school. After completing undergrad, Rich joined the army, where he was paid to learn Russian, and then worked as a Russian linguist for six-and-a-half years. Afterward, he got his Master’s degree in Counseling and started working as a therapist in South Carolina.
Rich left the field for a while to be a small business owner but found himself missing the mental health field. He moved back to Minnesota in 2001, and the first job he took was at Guild. He worked as a Case Manager on the Jade Team and later became the Team Lead.
Rich and Guild
Rich became the supervisor of services at Guild St. Paul in 2004, and in 2010, he became the director of TCM and ACT. In 2017 he moved into his current role as the Director of Community Treatment Services, where he oversees TCM, ACT, and the CSP Member Center.
Through his many years in the mental health field and time at Guild, Rich has appreciated gaining a better understanding of the mental health system and what people with serious mental illness go through.
When asked why he decided to work for Guild, Rich responds, “Fame and fortune.” On a more realistic note, Rich says, “We meet people where they’re at. We recognize that we are who we are, but that we can all grow and change.”
What’s Happening With Community Treatment Services?
The programs Rich oversees have undergone many innovations in recent years. The addition of Youth ACT services several years ago was an important feat towards being able to serve more of the community. The ACT teams now have full-time psychiatrists who are able to go out into the community to offer help to clients. The TCM service line has added a contract with Ramsey County in the past year and is growing.
During COVID, the Community Support Member Center that Rich oversees, which is usually full of activities and groups for clients, has been closed. CSP staff have been creative in finding ways to engage with clients and help them reduce their isolation. For example, many of the groups at the CSP have been meeting virtually instead of in-person.
Community Access, which was under Rich’s leadership for a few years and is the program that acts as the “front door” to Guild’s services, has grown in the quantity of full-time staff in order to meet demands and better serve clients.
The most enjoyable part of Rich’s job is “seeing a client move along and recover. I know the good work that my staff did helped that person on their journey.”
In his free time, Rich likes to run, watch baseball, and collect agates.